YESNYOU – Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas!

Hi everyone!

christmas-spainChristmas is nearly here, so it’s time for a blog that will help you to make the most of every opportunity to learn English over the festive period. Since September we’ve given you some general tips on how to study better in The Love of Learning,  talked about how reading articles and watching videos on the Internet can help your comprehension in Is your glass half full or half empty? and even examined the function and uses of memory in Remember me?. We’ve been busy!

Well, as a little gift from us to you this Christmas, here are 8 of our favourite songs from here in the office. Some are fun, some are sad, but all of them remind us of Christmas.

Do you like Christmas carols? A Christmas carol is a song or hymn whose lyrics are on the theme of Christmas and which is traditionally sung during the holiday season. The most famous example for children is probably Jingle Bells.

Did you sing along? If not, why not?!

I know the song’s a bit silly, but songs like this help in language learning because they are repetitive. They also make learning vocabulary easier because they talk about themes, like relationships, family, going out, different seasons, etc.

Next up is one of my favourites, made even more famous by the fact that Vaughn Monroe’s version appears at the end of the best Christmas movie ever made: Die Hard.

Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow! (Click here for lyrics)

In Die Hard some terrorists/thieves led by the excellent Alan Rickman as Hans Gruber blow the roof off the Nakatomi Plaza in LA. Now, I’m not a religious person, but for me, the best hymn for blowing the roof off a church is Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, here performed by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir (which is just nice to say out loud), a full orchestra…and an organ. Amazing. (Click here for lyrics)

Okay, so perhaps that’s not the best song for learning English (it is a tiny bit archaic), but it really captures Christmas for me.

If you’re feeling a bit elated after listening to that, how about something to bring the mood down? In 1971 John Lennon and Yoko Ono released Happy Xmas (War Is Over) in protest of the Vietnam War. It’s a haunting, unfulfilled promise and a reminder of how far we still have to go. (Click here for lyrics)

One of the most popular songs every Christmas is Slade’s Merry X’mas Everybody, released in 1973 (and every single decade since then). The costumes they’re wearing in the video are indicative of the height of the Glam Rock period in British music. Thank god that’s over. (Click here for lyrics)

Motown fans were enjoying the Jackson 5s’ Christmas album entitled the Jackson 5 Christmas Album in 1970, which featured this often-covered hit, I saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus, a strange song about a young boy coming to terms with his mother’s infidelity. Or something. (Click here for lyrics)

My all time favourite Christmas song, and that of David (and probably Kate although she’d never admit it!) is the Fairytale of New York, by The Pogues. It’s an unlikely Christmas hit, dealing with alcoholism, gambling and a difficult relationship, and is probably the most popular song ever to feature the accordian. But turn it up and it’ll knock your festive socks off. (Click here for lyrics…you’re going to need them)

Last up is the big daddy of them all, White Christmas. According to the Guinness World Records the version sung by Bing Crosby is the best-selling single of all time, with estimated sales in excess of 100 million copies worldwide. That means that if you listened to every copy of the song ever sold, one after another, it would take you 571 glorious years to finish the job. (Click here for lyrics)

So that’s it for our countdown to Christmas. Wherever you are and whatever you’re doing this holiday we all wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Until next year,

Al and everyone in the YESNYOU team

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